Friday 20 September 2013

Left of Centre - No Designer Paper!

Hello visitors to Magpieheaven! Today it's a double, possibly a triple challenge for me! As visitors may know, my Magpie nature means I love collecting notebooks and when one that I bought at a gallery fell to pieces in a matter of days, I set myself the challenge to make one of my own! Challenge One then is to make a book! When it came to decorating it I noticed that many of the books created in YouTube tutorials used designer papers. I would take up the Left of Centre Challenge and decorate my notebook using only inks, paints and embellishments from my stash - no designer short-cuts - gorgeous as all these wonderful papers are! That was Challenge two! My third Challenge is that this is the first time I've entered a Left of Centre Challenge!
 I started with two thin canvas boards from a pack I bought at 'The Works'. I had always thought these would be perfect as book covers, but I'd not been sure how to attach them to the paper pages and each other! I then started to explore YouTube and found some amazing tutorials on Coptic Stitching! The one by Sea Lemon was really clear and she has a nice calm voice! I learned what a signature is - a page folded in two neatly with a bone-folder - and how these are stacked to make the book's pages and then stitched between two covers.
I used a an eyelet punch to make holes in my canvases and paper signatures. I was lucky enough to find some waxed thread we already had that we had used for hanging decorations on last year's Christmas tree, but there are tutorials around on making your own waxed thread too. This thread was orange and it hadn't looked right with out Christmas decorations, but it really dictated the autumn tints of this project. I was surprised that hand-stitching the book was not as terrifying or as frustrating as I'd thought it would be! My stitching is not as perfect as Sea Lemon's yet, but maybe with practice! The next step was to think about decorating my book with my own work! First I made my own washi tape using opaque and translucent paints: Butternut and Smoked Paprika by Paper Artsy on masking tape. I then stamped these with Archival Ink (brown) using images of keys and shells from Lynne Perrella Paper Artsy stamps. I also dug out my huge supply of paper beads made from pennants of paper cut from magazines, wrapped around cocktail sticks and clear embossed. I like to make these in the evenings after supper when we settle down as a family to watch old movies.
Now to set about painting and distressing my book covers. I used Butternut with a gentle dry brushing of Smoked Paprika Frescos then edged with Walnut Stain Distress Ink. I found some distressed seam binding that I thought went quite well and I'll show you what I did with this shortly.
I decorated the back of my notebook first, using torn pieces of napkin - the very top layer, which I stuck on with Claudine Hellmuth's Multi-Medium. As well as fixing the tissue pieces to the cover, it creates a nice, glazed look. I then stamped over randomly with some script from a Paper Artsy Ink and the Dog, Flowers plate using Versamark and embossed this with copper detail embossing powder. I Versamarked the edges of my book too and sprinkled them with UTEE gold then finished off with then strips of brown/gold ribbon as a border.
Here is the cover of the notebook. I used my home-made washi tapes as a border. You can see I added a little UTEE to my handmade beads and attached them with ribbon. I used an image from the Paper Artsy Ink and the Dog Letters 5 plate which I clear embossed and then masked, filling in the background of the oval die-cut with leaves stamped in Olympia Green Versafine ink. The Tim Holtz book plate with the sentiment from the Letters 5 plate is Crackle glazed - Butternut over French Roast and the text reads 'All the things she never said.'.. which I thought would be the perfect sentiment for a notebook!. I used two pearls painted with Treasure Gold as studs in the book plate. The butterflies are from a Paper Artsy, Ink and the Dog, 'Wings' plate, clear embossed onto card. You can see that the seam binding is now glued to the inside edges of the book with some washi tape and  used as a tie up.
Now that I've done this once I have more of an idea how to improve my stitching and I have lots of ideas for different designs. I really hope I shall have some time to make some more and a few of these will find their way into Christmas stockings as well as a place in my handbag!


  1. h wow, Julie Ann this is gorgeous!! what beautiful colours.
    I need some lessons on book-making, cos the book I have is hard to follow....

  2. Wow, that is stunning. The colours are gorgeous. I really want to Coptic binding, but I haven't been brave enough yet.

  3. This looks amazing! I love your colour choice and the materials you have used - will check out the u-tube video but I'm booked onto a Coptic book workshop at the end of October-something I've wanted to do for ages! Chrisx

  4. Hi Julie Ann, wow your notebook is amazing! It's looks fantastic - the colours are so rich and I love the little additions of washi tape and paper beads. I've never tried to make a book before but you made it sound quite easy! Love Claire x

  5. This book is fabulous I love design, colours and stamps your choice. Also the project is very nice, because I looking for book making. You always show us new ideas. Thanks!

  6. This is gorgeous, love the saying too, but most impressive is the coptic stitching and DIY beads... I have been meaning to try my hand at both but still haven't found the courage! Went to watch Sea Lemon's video and you're right it's very good (she makes it looks so easy).

  7. I love notebooks too..but can never bring myself to write in them! Beautiful colours and so much detail - I really love this piece. Thank you for joining in at LOC. xxx Keren

  8. Wow, it's beautiful, Julie Ann. Such golden, glowing colours and gorgeous stamping. The stitching looks pretty darn good to me, and thank you for the tutorial link - am looking forward to the day when I have the time to start with the handmade books I've been planning! Gorgeous handmade beads too... a really wonderful make!
    Alison xx

  9. I LOVE this - You are so talented - It really is so beautiful! Lots of love Laura xxxxxxxx

  10. Wonderful Julie Ann! As much as I love your hand made book, I love your paper beads too.

  11. Excellent Julie, I love to make books, it's been years, and the Coptic Stitching is the best, imagine that thread just waiting for the book, the colors blended together so beautifully, it's like a warm golden fire, love your tape and the stamping,your beautiful beads, it's all hand made by the Magpies greatest artist, the parliament is standing and applauding you,for outstanding work, thanks for sharing.You'll have to try the piano hinge book it's fabulous and a lot of fun to make, hope you have a wonderful week, big hugs..

  12. I just love this, Julie. So, so, so beautiful -- and perfectly done! I really think you could open a store on, selling journals. You'd have a happy American customer, anyway. :)

    I better be signing off -- I'm looking at the pretty things on your blog rather than paying attention in my professor's Art History lecture. :p




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